Thursday, 24 November 2016

Adelaide to Kangaroo Island to Melbourne

We took the bus from the Central Bus Station in Adelaide to the ferry terminal in Cape Jervis. Lots of grape vines, olive trees, sheep, cows and the occasional kangaroo grazing. The wind was up so I took some Gravol, expecting a rough ferry ride to Penneshaw. And it was. I didn't take any photos as I was concentrating on the horizon.
SeaLink ferry at Cape Jervis Waves in Penneshaw
I rented a Forester in Penneshaw since all the maps showed a fair number of unsealed roads (their term for dirt/gravel). We stopped for groceries at the local IGA and there were rams in the truck beside us. Didn't notice if the truck was a Dodge.
Rams at the IGA
Our first planned stop was Seal Bay. I took a 'short cut' and ended up on this unsealed road. Ok at 80 kph, but then got pushed by a tour bus up to 90kph. Did not want it to pass us and shower gravel on the rental car.
Being chased by a bus
The weather was looking a bit iffy by the time we got to Seal Bay. The wind was blowing hard, then the rain came. A bit of hail as well. We were putting on our rain gear when the hail came. The rain and hail did not last long, but the rain gear cut the wind nicely.
Hail at Seal Bay
We did both the boardwalk down above the beach + guided tours onto the beach.
Seal Bay boardwalk Juvenile whale skeleton
The residents are actually sea lions, not seals. Sea lions cannot sleep in the water, so they go out hunting for 2-3 days straight eating as much as 30% of their body weight. Then they return to the beach and sleep for 2-3 days. Pups nurse while mom sleeps.
Sleeping seal Nursing pup
One of the bull sea lions was on the beach during our tour. They are BIG. The guide said we have to stay at least 10 metres away, because you need that much of a head start if he charges.
Bull on the beach
Off to find our accommodations near Flinders Chase National Park. I plugged in Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat in the GPS. Looked pretty fancy for the price. Turned out I should have put in Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park in.. We had passed it a couple of minutes before on the way. Nice self-contained pre-fab cabins by Jayco. We reserved dinner at the fancy place anyway (only game in town at this end of the island).
There was a couple of hours before dinner, so we went into Flinders Chase NP. Got a 2 day pass from the nice ranger lady. She asked if we had seen any koalas before, and wrinkled her nose when we replied 'only in cages'. So she lead us out to the parking lot and said look up there.
Koala in Flinders Chase parking lot
There are a number of things to see down at the southwest corner of the park. It was going to be interesting with the high winds and waves.
Cape Du Couedic lightstation
The waves were impressive hitting the shore.
Shore break Waves hitting The Brothers
Down at the Admiral's Arch, there were some New Zealand fur seals resting. It was a good thing my camera is waterproof. There was major spray being blown by the wind. It was hard to walk sometimes.
Down in Admiral's Arch NZ fur seal
Then we went over to the Remarkable Rocks.They were formed by softer material being worn away from the harder.
Remarkable Rocks Just sitting there
Up close Odd shapes
The next day was the Snake Lagoon hike. We surprised a couple sets of kangaroos on the way into the parking area. These were the smaller ones. The others moved too fast for pictures. 8km of primarily washboard road.
Kangaroos on the way 
The trail started through the bush, then followed the Rocky River down to the ocean.
Ants on the trail Rocky River crossing

Bees having a drink Rocky River rapids

Pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens) Getting close to the ocean

Local wildlife sunning (6" long) The break at the mouth
Worn rocks Dave on the drift sand
The water colour is due to the high iron content.
Saw on the way back (3' long)
As we got close to the Rocky River, we kept hearing some animal's call that sounded like 'donk'. Pretty sure it was a frog. When we got back to the ranger station, we had to ask. The ranger smiled and said come this way. They have a interactive program on a display that you can pick an animal, and it will play the call. It was the Eastern Banjo frog.
Ravens at Flinders Chase station
We did the Koala Walk back at the camp before heading to Penneshaw. There were at least 3 + a bunch of wallabies.
Wallaby 1 of 3 koalas on the walk
We stopped at Pennington Bay to see the surf.
Pennington Bay big surf Dave in contemplation
Just across the road from the Kangaroo Island Backpackers Hostel was this sign for penguin crossing. Little penguins nest in the rocks at the shore here. Isola Pizza next to the hostel was quite good.
Next morning was the ferry ride back to Cape Jervis (much calmer, with at least 3 four level transports full of sheep), and the bus back to Adelaide.
War Of The Worlds cell tower
City bus to the airport for our bags, then shuttle to East Coast Rentals for our 1 way rental to Melbourne. All their cars are white to reduce confusion (and easier to see damage I think). The plan was to drive down along the coastal Coorong National Park, then stay overnight in Naracoorte. Coorong must be more interesting from the other side. Nothing to see from the road anyway. Heading inland was rolling hills and plains. Sheep as far as you could see. Naracoorte Holiday Park had Jayco cabins as well. Similar, but different year probably. Reception let us know that Billy Mac's Bistro was 2-for-1 tonight so we knew were dinner was.

Next morning was a short visit to the Naracoorte Caves. We just had time to do the Wet Cave. Only about 20 steps down. All the caves here are relatively short distance underground.
Entrance to Wet Cave

Inside Wet Cave Natural light allows plants to grow
The destination for tonight was Apollo Bay via the Great Ocean Road, most of the way to Melbourne. A good 5.5hr of driving not including stops. We were trying to arrive at Sandown Raceway by noon the next day to unload the shipping container. Along the way, Dave recognized sign for Father Woods Park. They are chainsawn tree sculptures depicting Father Woods in various roles (bush priest, good citizen, scientist and explorer, founder and educator).
Father Woods
More stops happened once we were on the Great Ocean Road. One of the draws are the stone features along the shore. With the high winds we had been having, the waves were impressive.
Bay of Martyrs Off Peterborough

The Grotto Outside the Grotto
Echidna (Spiny Ant-eater) looking for food

London Bridge has fallen (the arch collapsed in Jan. 1990) Muttonbird Island (50,000 live here)

Graves for Loch Ard shipwreck in 1878 The 12 Apostles (the one in foreground was a '3 Sisters')
Drilling core samples for soil testing for new 12 Apostle information site
The 12 Apostles was the last ocean feature. The road from then on was nice and twisty, up and down through the forest. There were a couple of areas that were down to one lane for bridge and road repairs due to damage from a big storm earlier.
One lane for road repairs from landslips
Overnight was in Apollo Bay, a nice beach town. Next morning was more twisty roads up to Bells Beach. I remembered the name as a place for good surfing and it was busy.
Catching a wave at Bells Beach
Lots waiting for the right set at Bells Beach
Traffic was a bit heavy since we had to go right through Melbourne to get to the Sandown circuit. There is a big tunnel under the Yarra River, including the cricket grounds and the Royal Botanical Gardens. We made it to Sandown pretty much on time. The others had already unloaded the cars from the container. Dave & I moved the rest of our supplies into the garages. The rest of the day was spent servicing the car, ready for practice tomorrow.

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